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Suffering from Social Fatigue

Suffering from Social Fatigue

INFP Reflections Blog

By Paul Dunning

For me, small talk is a big deal and chitchat can feel like an interrogation.

You may think I’m strange, socially inept, or a recluse, but the reality is I’m not that unusual. Extrapolating from the U.S. type data and rounding the world population down to 7 billion, there may be over 300 million INFPs on the planet. If you include all the introverts there are over 3.5 billion of those, but I am going to focus on only INFPs, because I don’t like large groups anyway, and 300 million is already really big.

So Who Cares?

Who cares if an INFP finds social interactions wearing? Well, the obvious answer is the INFP, but the person on the other side of the chitchat might want to think about these points:

• If you are extraverted, I don’t need the same social interaction that you crave. There’s nothing wrong with me or with you.

• If you think I am being withdrawn or shy or some other social label that you assign, then you are not trying to understand me. We could talk about this sometime, one to one, in a quiet place, where I don’t feel rushed, and you are wanting to invest your time in getting to know who I am.

• If you want to get to know who I am and spend some time with me, you might be surprised by how talkative I can be. I want to share who I am and find out about who you are, but only after we have established some form of relationship. I need to trust that you are the kind of person I can talk to.

So there you have it. The INFP Social Fatigue Manifesto. Maybe we should get tee shirts printed and when we’re in a social setting others can read about us without having to ask us questions. It could save a lot of energy for INFPs.

Further reading for INFPs and others:

For more thoughts on understanding yourself and communicating well, read Introduction to Type and Communication.

If you live in the USA, Introduction to Type and Communication is now available on Kindle.

This entry was posted on Friday, October 31st, 2014 at 10:14 am and is filed under Blog. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

7 Responses to “Suffering from Social Fatigue”

  1. Amy says:

    I was in a writers’ workshop recently. On the first day, the teacher had us go around, state our biggest failure then, if the group thought someone wasn’t forthcoming enough, allowed the group members to ask as many personal questions as they wanted. Someone asked me about a tattooed symbol on my wrist then probed what the personal significance to me was. In front of 15 complete strangers. Suffice to say, I wasn’t in that group for very long.

  2. admin says:

    Hi Amy,

    Thanks for your comment. I can’t imagine being in the situation you describe. It would have been torture for me.


  3. Two thumbs up to this post! My next to last blog post was on a similar topic, how people with preferences for Introversion and Extraversion stereotype each other. Whole books could be written about the stereotypes (or as you put it, social labels) and misunderstandings between people with opposite preferences.

    As for tee shirts, maybe you could get one of CPP’s INFP Type Heads and put the design on a shirt, that is if it isn’t copyrighted. 😎

  4. admin says:

    Hi Gayle,

    I provided a link to your blog so others could read about what you refer to here. I’m thinking that an Introverted tee shirt would have the words on the back. 🙂


  5. Thank you Paul!!! 😎

  6. frieda hersh says:

    I was thinking of having a paper. Anytime something happens to me and people know about it they almost always ask questions… things like a recent wedding, death in the family, and people are constantly asking” so, what do you do this year?” I just wish I would have a paper explaining what I do, how the wedding was, etc… anyone get me? I hate being interigated, I have no want to chtchat with you if im not close to you!

  7. admin says:

    Hi Frieda,

    Having your reply written out on paper is a good idea. You could carry multiple copies and hand them out when people ask you questions about yourself.

    Kind regards,

    Paul 🙂

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